x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Tamim's father says there's no justice

Appeals court agrees Egyptian tycoon and former state security officer should not be executed for murdering singer in Dubai.

Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was murdered in her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment in July, 2008.
Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was murdered in her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment in July, 2008.

DUBAI // The father of the murdered Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim said yesterday his faith in justice had been shattered after an appeals court agreed her killers should be jailed and not executed.

The appeal by the billionaire Hisham Talaat Moustafa, the former chairman of Egypt's largest property developer the Talaat Moustafa Group, came to an end yesterday as a Cairo judge backed a previous court's overturning of the death penalty.

Speaking from his home in Lebanon, Abdel Sattar Tamim said he had lost faith in the judicial system.

Moustafa, 52, an Egyptian tycoon who was considered a powerful member of the former dictator Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, was found guilty in 2009 of paying Dh7.3 million to a former Egyptian state security officer to kill the singer.

Both Moustafa and the former officer, Mohsen El Sokari, 43, were initially sentenced to hang.

On appeal, both men were granted a retrial with three new judges, which began in 2010. That trial sentenced Sokari to life in jail, while Moustafa's sentence was cut to 15 years.

Moustafa appealed again, with his lawyers claiming there were "inconsistencies" in the evidence.

Yesterday, that appeal delivered the same verdict.

"If he [Moustafa] wasn't a billionaire, he would've been gone a long time ago," said Mr Tamim. "It's all about money; there is no justice because if there were, this wouldn't have happened and the story wouldn't have gone this far."

Tamim, 30, was found stabbed and with her throat cut in her Jumeirah Beach Residence apartment in July 2008.

Security footage showed El Sokari was in the building at the time of the murder.

Although Moustafa received the lighter sentence, Mr Tamim said he believed the men were as guilty as each other, "and if anything, Moustafa is even more guilty".

He considered the whole case a joke.

"I don't understand, they were using the same papers and the same lawyers," Mr Tamim said. "Yet some people gave one verdict and others gave another. I don't know why this has happened."

He said God would give the men the right verdict, and that was all he wanted.

"I've reached a point where I don't have faith in the world we live in any more. I have given up hope and all I am waiting for is for God Almighty to judge them."

Born in 1977, Tamim was married twice to Lebanese men. She escaped to Cairo after her second husband beat her and forbade her from singing.

There, she met Moustafa in 2004 before leaving him in late 2006, when she moved to London.

She became acquainted with an Iraqi-British kickboxer, who has claimed to be her husband, and they bought the Dubai apartment in which she was murdered.

"Suzanne was such a good person. She liked people and she always wished them well," said Mr Tamim. "If there were no newspapers in the UAE, her right would not be heard. They helped us a lot to get the truth out and so did the Dubai Police."

cmalek@thenational.ae